Last night (Sat., May 24, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweights Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger fought for high stakes on the main card of UFC 173 from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To watch full Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger fight video highlights click here.
Lawler was more than motivated to avenge his recent title loss to current champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, a fight that Lawler felt he could have finished with just a bit more aggression.
Without a win over a top welterweight in nearly three years, Ellenberger had his hands full in attempting to prove that he deserved his lofty No. 5 ranking. He was last seen dropping a very lackluster decision to Rory MacDonald back at UFC on FOX 8, a fight where "Juggernaut" appeared to freeze up.
Unfortunately, that trend continued to haunt the once-promising challenger against the top-ranked "Ruthless," who proved he's clearly deserving of another shot at gold with a dominant performance from "Sin City."
The opening round began with a feeling out process. Lawler landed a big head kick and another, backing up Ellenberger. "Ruthless" followed with another kick to the body. Another high kick followed as Lawler's movement was high. He landed a good counter left hand as Ellenberger was stifled. "Juggernaut" finally landed a shot but Lawler kept stalking his pray. Ellenberger countered with a decent combo as the fighters traded hooks. The final minute saw some flurries from both sides.
Lawler went for some big knees to start the second, and pushed the pace with solid hooks. Ellenberger finally went for a takedown by grabbing Lawler's back, but he broke to throw a kick of his own. Lawler threw more lunging punches to wobble Ellenberger, blasting a combo and continuous pinpoint left hands. Ellenberger dragged the fight to the mat, but Lawler spun out with ease. Ellenberger was bleeding and absorbing big shots He ate a huge knee but scored a big running double leg.
The final frame saw Ellenberger come to life, swinging for the fences and slightly rocking Lawler. "Ruthless" fought back with his Muay Thai knees and an uppercut that stunned "Juggernaut. The fighters slowed down towards the middle of the round. Ellenberger landed a good shot but was clearly running out of gas. Lawler backed him up with a hard punch and kept snapping his dangerous jab.
Lawler turned it on, and soon it was all over.
"Ruthless" unleashed a vicious lead knee against the cage, nailing Ellenberger and swarming with damaging shots to earn the finish from referee Herb Dean.
The former title challenger made the most of the quick turnaround, defeating a highly ranked opponent with ease. His striking is as dangerous as it comes, and the scary thing is he's only getting better with age.
Lawler should be due for another title shot, but given the current state of the stacked UFC welterweight division, "Ruthless" could be up next for Matt Brown, or he could even fight the winner of UFC 174's Rory MacDonald vs. Tyron Woodley affair.
It all depends on when Hendricks can return from his surgery. He's tentatively slated to come back in September or October.
As for Ellenberger, he's going to experience a steep fall down a big mountain. He had yet another chance to prove himself against a top-level opponent, and again he froze up. This time, he got destroyed by one of the hungriest fighters in MMA.
He had some success wrestling with Lawler, so perhaps he should have went with that avenue more. Regardless, "Juggernaut" will most likely return to facing lower-level welterweights, but he's going to have to string together several wins to regain the relevancy he once enjoyed.
Robbie Lawler made a strong case for another title shot with his fourth win in five fights since returning to UFC. What's next on the agenda for the surging longtime veteran?